Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What types of things increase feelings of happiness? This question directs the content of the book 'Growing Up With a Bucketful of Happiness' by Carol McCloud. Use this lesson plan to summarize key points of the book and the activity to put it into practice.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize the content of Growing Up With a Bucketful of Happiness by Carol McCloud
  • define and discuss key terms and concepts from the book
  • list and explain the happiness practices mentioned in the book


30 to 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).


  • This lesson plan is designed for students who have read Growing Up With a Bucketful of Happiness by Carol McCloud.


  • Used clean plastic food containers with lids
  • Card stock in assorted colors, die cut into circles and x shapes
  • Fine-tipped permanent markers in assorted colors


  • Begin by reviewing the following discussion questions with the class. As you address each question, have the students find and share specific textual references to support their responses.

Discussion Questions

  • According to the book, what is a bucket?
  • Do we all have buckets?
  • What types of things fill our buckets?
  • What is an example of a behavior that would fill our buckets?
  • What types of things empty, or dip into, our buckets?
  • What is an example of a behavior that will dip into our buckets?
  • Why do our buckets need lids?
  • What do these buckets have to do with happiness?
  • Why is happiness important in life?
  • What was the author's purpose in writing this book?

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